CODE 22.05 Released with Powerful New Features like Grammar Checks, Sparklines and “Jumbo Spreadsheets”

This New Major Release Brings Grammar Checking, Giant Spreadsheets and Performance Wins

Cambridge, June 29, 2022 – Collabora announces the availability of Collabora Online Developer Edition (CODE) 22.05. The latest major release targets three key areas: ease of use, performance, and interoperability. It demonstrates the company’s mission of being the technology leader in collaborative editing. Collabora Online businesses the most effective and secure document creation environment with dedicated support and depth of development horsepower. CODE 22.05 is preceding the next major release of our long-term supported business suite Collabora Online. This free developer version includes all features and enhancements that will be available in our enterprise version, expected later in July. The CODE releases allow every interested user to learn and test new features on an early stage. As always, your feedback on possible issues is much appreciated! CODE is the collaboration suite offering home users and early adopters the best features, interoperability in open source, while respecting user privacy and data security. In this announcement, we are showcasing some of the latest functionalities added to Collabora Online.

 

Get CODE 22.05

 

Using Grammar and Style Checks in the Browser

Grammar checking in a Writer Document in CODE 22.05

Starting with version 22.05 we introduced the support for external grammar checkers. You can now benefit from the style and grammar checker by LanguageTool in your browser. To make use of this feature, you have to enable this inside Collabora Online’s configuration file. Depending on whether you are using a free or a premium account, both the quality and amount of the suggestions may vary. We would like to express our gratitude to Nicolas Christener and his wonderful team at Adfinis for making this great feature a reality.

 

“Jumbo Spreadsheets” with 16k Columns in Calc

CODE 22.05 increases the maximum number of columns available in Calc to 16384

Collabora Online does now support up to 16384 columns in spreadsheets. This is a sixteenfold increase in the maximum number of columns compared to previous versions. Previously, Calc would display an error message on opening large sheets that exceeded 1024 columns. Combined with up to one million rows per spreadsheet, Calc can now handle enormous amounts of data on the right hardware. Previous performance improvements in Calc paved the way for this feature, which also increases the interoperability with Excel spreadsheets from Microsoft. This work was funded by DEVxDAO as part of their mission to support open-source and transparent research and development of emerging technologies and frameworks.

 

Sparklines Now Available for Calc

Sparklines for Calc have arrived in CODE 22.05

Sparklines are mini-charts found in Microsoft’s XLSX format. The support for them premieres with the release of Collabora Office 22.05. Sparklines are always defined for one cell, but different ones can be grouped together. There are three different ways of displaying Sparklines. They can be displayed as lines, bar charts or stacked as win-loss charts. The Sparklines feature can be accessed through the right-click dialog. The unique data for a Sparkline is defined in the data range.

This feature was made possible by funding from NGI and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871498. For more information on the technical background, see Tomaz Vajngerl’s blog.

 

Webp support available for all types of documents

CODE 22.05 supports the WebP format across all modules

WebP is a graphics format for lossy or lossless image compression. It can be used for both static and animated images and is also supported by the vast majority of modern browsers. The current version of CODE now allows for importing images in WebP format. The graphic format can now be used in all document types, i.e. in text documents, spreadsheets, presentations as well as Draw files.

 

Content Controls in Writer: Dropdown, Picture and Date Types

Content Controls menu in Collabora Online Writer 22.05

Writer now has content controls functionality, a new way to set properties on a piece of text, primarily for form filling purposes. This feature improves compatibility with the DOCX format. There are now five types of inline Content Controls that can be imported and added to Collabora Online. Writer had already included form controls and fieldmarks, providing similar features. However, there are some differences in their behaviour. Among other differences, Content Controls can contain rich text and a set of properties. Instead of fieldmarks, they can’t span over different paragraphs. Here is a small summary of the capabilities of the new Content Controls.

  • Rich Text Content Controls simply show an indicator when you’re inside the content
  • Checkbox Content Controls contain a single character, but you can interact with them: clicking on the content control toggles the checked state of the checkbox
  • Dropdown Content Controls have a list of dropdown items. Each item is a display-text and value pair, allowing to differentiate between a human-readable string and a machine-readable value.
  • Picture Content Controls allow the author of a form to pre-format the image before the filler of the form inserts the actual image.
  • Date Content Controls were emulated with Writer fieldmarks in the past, which created trouble during export, since Word itself doesn’t have a date form-field.
Date Content Control in Collabora Online 22.05
Date Content Control Properties in Collabora Online 22.05

This feature has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871498. For more information on the technical background, see Miklos Vajna’s blog post.

 

New Formula Input Bar with Pure HTML

Faster native rendering of the input of formulae in Calc

We continue working in the conversion of various UI components in Collabora Online to “native” HTML widgets. This helps to get better user experience, especially on touch and mobile devices. This time we have converted the formula bar which is used to edit data in cells inside a spreadsheet.

Previous “tunnelled” approaches had some disadvantages like a blurry look under some conditions and a cursor position setup depending on pixel-based coordinates. Now the edit field is rendered by the browser, ensuring a crisp display of text under all circumstances and resolutions. The position of the caret is represented as a logical value and also handled by the browser. This adds a lot of benefits to the user experience. It has now become much easier to type into the formula bar, especially on touch devices.

New formula input bar in CODE 22.05 using a touch device

 

Bandwidth wins and improved performance with Deltas

Previous versions of Collabora Online have managed documents as a series of tiles, when a tile is invalidated by its contents changing, new tiles have been compressed and sent. Interestingly this cost usually outweighed all other rendering and managing of document content. In this version we adopt a simple time-based compression – whereby for actively changing tiles we send the user a small set of changes since the last tile. Thus if you type a ‘period’ we can generate a tiny compressed change for just those pixels. This gives up to a 75% bandwidth saving depending on your workload – as well as saving CPU time. We also have laid the foundation for switching to a far faster zstd compression library in the 22.05 lifetime to save yet more CPU cycles and serve more users from the same server hardware.

 

Accessibility Check Helps to Create Documents According to the PDF/UA Standard

Accessibility Check in CODE 22.05

The current version of CODE includes a new Accessibility Checker. This helps to create documents according to the PDF/UA standard. Published as an International Standard in 2012 (ISO 14289), the PDF/UA format provides clear normative terms for achieving accessibility in the PDF format. The goal is to enable users to use documents without assistance from others, and to be able to receive the same value from the content as people without disabilities. This is accomplished by standardization of the content structure within the PDF files and the technology capabilities available to the end user, including PDF readers and assistive technologies (AT).

The Accessibility Check is part of the first step in an ongoing journey to improve accessibility, both in Collabora Online (Browser) and Collabora Office (Desktop). The Accessibility Check button can be found in the Review tab. The dialog shows a list of all issues found in the text document. Through a quick access button, it is possible to access the critical element. The issue is highlighted. See this article for more details on the already implemented checks.

 

Faster Rotation of Bitmap Graphics

Fast image rotation in Collabora Online 22.05

The rotation of bitmap graphics has undergone a significant speed improvement. When rotating graphics via the button (the slightly off-set filled circle above a selected graphic), the movement is now much smoother and easier to position. This improvement makes manipulating bitmap graphics much more comfortable. Here’s how you can try it for yourself. Select a bitmap graphic by clicking on it. Move the cursor to the grey circle above the graphic. The cursor now changes into a palm. Now move the palm cursor to the right and left as you wish while holding down the left mouse button.

 

Dynamic Configuration of Multiple Hosts

 

Collabora Online uses a WOPI-like protocol to interact with hosts who want to integrate Collabora Online. The improved admin configurations allow for multiple WOPI hosts with multiple aliases. This means you can use a single Collabora Online server with different software integrations at the same time. It is also possible to manage these hosts dynamically without a server restart. This makes Collabora Online much easier to deploy and configure, particularly when scaling to integrate with large numbers of different services. All of this saves cost and reduces management complexity, making this feature especially interesting for hosting companies. We have summarized the technical background information on Multihost Configuration inside our SDK documentation.

LibreOffice Technology

CODE and Collabora Online are built with LibreOffice Technology by the LibreOffice community in which we love to participate. We cannot thank everyone involved enough for their passionate work.

 

About CODE

CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and to host them themselves in a secure and private environment. For tech-enthusiasts, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE will be improved continuously and our next supported and maintained Collabora Online product will be built from it. The code is available on GitHub.

 

Get CODE 22.05

 

Open Source – so feel welcome to join

Before we conclude with some final improvements and news, we really want to let you know about all the people that did the hard work. Thanks to the community that made this release possible! Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release, and accounts for the overwhelming volume of contributions. However, we want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice technology. All of our code is open source, and available to the public on GitHub. Would you like to be part of the Collabora Online success story? Check the new website for Online with information, easy hacks and a forum for Online, report issues, and participate today!

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Collabora Online 21.11.3 Released – Dynamic Configuration of Multiple Hosts Saves Cost and Reduces Management Complexity

The latest update of Collabora Online brings significant configuration improvements allowing users to dynamically connect multiple WOPI hosts with a single Collabora Online Server. This makes Collabora Online easier to deploy and configure, especially when scaling to integrate with many different services. Collabora Online 21.11.3 also brings several improvements to the user experience, like the way complex commenting cases are handled. Several visual enhancements are also included. All the technical details of this version are available in the release notes.

Dynamic Configuration Saves Cost and Reduces Management Complexity

Collabora Online uses a WOPI-like protocol to interact with hosts who want to integrate Collabora Online. The improved admin configurations allow for multiple WOPI hosts with multiple aliases. This means you can use a single Collabora Online server with different software integrations at the same time as Nextcloud, ownCloud, EGroupware, Moodle, Alfresco or an Univention Corporate Server. It is possible to manage these hosts dynamically without a server restart. This makes Collabora Online much easier to deploy and configure, particularly when scaling to integrate with large numbers of different services. All of this saves cost and reduces management complexity, making this feature especially interesting for host companies. We have summarised the technical background information on Multihost Configuration inside our SDK documentation.

The comments section in Collabora 21.11.3 saw different visual and usability improvements

Improvements for Complex Commenting Cases

Icon of a collapsed thread

The way Writer renders comments has improved significantly with recent updates. When you respond to a comment, the original comment is visually highlighted and indented, making it much clearer to locate the referenced element inside the document. Collabora Online does now display comments in different ways depending on the window’s width. On smaller displays, comment threads will be displayed collapsed – as a small icon with an indication of the number of replies. This is particularly useful on laptops or tablets. On large screens comments we be displayed fully expanded. These overall visual improvements significantly enhance the look and feel of the comment section and make the collaborative editing processes more effective.

 

 

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online 21.11 is our latest enterprise quality release. It’s suitable for large-scale deployment, and comes with SLA, enterprise support with signed security updates as well as interaction with product management, helping to direct our development priorities. Collabora Online integrates flawlessly into Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, and many of the major file sync & share, groupware and hosting solutions. It’s ideal for organisations that want to collaborate on documents, without losing control over them or compromising on privacy. With the ability to host it on your own hardware or to integrate it into a trusted environment, Collabora Online is the ideal online office suite for digital sovereignty. Enterprises interested in using Collabora Online can check out our home page for more information on partner integrations and online demos. Hosting and Cloud businesses that wish to add Collabora Online to their product portfolio can become a partner. For any questions or tailored solutions, do not hesitate to contact hello@collaboraoffice.com.

 

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Collabora Online 21.11.2.4 Brings Accessibility Checker and Improved UX

The latest update of Collabora Online brings several improvements regarding accessibility and the user interface. Also, the rotation of images has been accelerated, making the experience much better. Inside this blog, we are highlighting some of the latest features of the Collabora Online 21.11.2.4 update. All the technical details of this version are available in the release notes.

Accessibility Check Helps to Create Documents According to the PDF/UA Standard

Accessibility Check in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4

Collabora Online introduces the accessibility checker with the update to version 21.11.2.4. It helps to create documents according to the PDF/UA standard. Published as an International Standard in 2012 (ISO 14289), the PDF/UA format provides clear normative terms for achieving accessibility in the PDF format. The goal is to enable users to use documents without assistance from others, and to be able to receive the same value from the content as people without disabilities. This is accomplished by standardisation of the content structure within the PDF files and the technology capabilities available to the end user, including PDF readers and assistive technologies (AT).

The Accessibility Check is part of the first step in an ongoing journey to improve accessibility, both in Collabora Online (Browser) and Collabora Office (Desktop). The Accessibility Check button can be found in the Review tab. The dialog shows a list of all issues found in the text document. Through a quick access button, it is possible to access the critical element. The issue is highlighted. These checks are currently implemented:

  • Check if the document title is set
  • Check if the document language is set, or all styles in use, have the language set
  • Check all images, graphics, OLE objects for the alt (or title in some objects) text
  • Check for heading order. Order of the headings must increase incrementally with no skips
  • Check, if text conveys additional meaning with (direct) formatting
  • Check if tables do not include split or merged cells, which could be disorienting for users with visual impairments
  • Check for fake/manual numbering (not using integrated numbering)
  • Check that hyperlink text is not a hyperlink itself – hyperlink should be described
  • Check for the contrast between text and the background
  • Check for blinking text, which can be problematic for people with cognitive disabilities or photosensitive epilepsy
  • Check for footnotes and end notes, which should be avoided

Faster Rotation of Bitmap Graphics

Fast image rotation in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4

The rotation of bitmap graphics has undergone a significant speed improvement. When rotating graphics via the button (the slightly off-set filled circle above a selected graphic), the movement is now much smoother and easier to position. This improvement makes manipulating bitmap graphics much more comfortable. Here’s how you can try it for yourself. Select a bitmap graphic by clicking on it. Move the cursor to the grey circle above the graphic. The cursor now changes into a palm. Now move the palm cursor to the right and left as you wish while holding down the left mouse button.

Goodbye, Hamburger Menu 👋 The User Interface Experiences Many Improvements

Home Tab in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4
View Tab in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4

The Collabora Online 21.11.2.4 update brings some clearly visible changes to the user interface. The tabs have been streamlined in favour of a more floating style. The appearance of Collabora Online on iPads has been harmonised with the appearance on desktops and notebooks. By clicking the current tab, you can collapse the menu or display it again. Additionally, we are waving the hamburger menu goodbye. Many of the functions contained therein were already available via buttons in other tabs. Now the remaining functions have also found a new home, in places that are less generic. For instance, Select All can be found inside the Layout tab, the Full Screen icon now lives in the View tab, and so does the possibility to toggle the ruler. At the same time, the Undo & Redo buttons have been moved to the Home tab. And there are even more small UI enhancements to be discovered. All dialogs experienced visual improvements, and so did many elements in the Sidebar and the formatting icons. Thanks to the community, that contributed a lot to this specific area.

 

 

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online 21.11 is our latest enterprise quality release. It’s suitable for large-scale deployment, and comes with SLA, enterprise support with signed security updates as well as interaction with product management, helping to direct our development priorities. Collabora Online integrates flawlessly into Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, and many of the major file sync & share, groupware and hosting solutions. It’s ideal for organisations that want to collaborate on documents, without losing control over them or compromising on privacy. With the ability to host it on your own hardware or to integrate it into a trusted environment, Collabora Online is the ideal online office suite for digital sovereignty. Enterprises interested in using Collabora Online can check out our home page for more information on partner integrations and online demos. Hosting and Cloud businesses that wish to add Collabora Online to their product portfolio can become a partner. For any questions or tailored solutions, do not hesitate to contact hello@collaboraoffice.com.

 

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Thank you for an exciting 2021!

Looking at what we have achieved together 🤝

At the end of the year, we like to look back at what we have achieved as a team – in cooperation with our worldwide network of partners and the community. The year 2021 was again dominated by the global pandemic. While it had little impact on our work processes, it meant that personal encounters remained very rare.

At the same time, we launched the first COOL Days, a new event that brings together people interested in Collabora Online and LibreOffice technology. Collabora Online, Collabora Office and our mobile apps have all seen major performance improvements and increased functionality this year. At the end of the year, we released CODE 21.11, which previews what our flagship enterprise product, due out in early 2022, will look like. Thank you, for your support this year. See what we have achieved together this year. 💜

🆕 Collabora Online includes new functionalities and better performance 💻

This year Collabora Online has undergone a number of important updates. In addition to interoperability and user experience, there was a strong focus on performance enhancements. Many ground-breaking new functionalities already celebrated their premiere in the 6.4 release branch. With the release of CODE 21.11, more new implementations from the desktop were added.

Collabora Online 6.4 adds ground-breaking features

Pivot Tables in Collabora Online 6.4.x
Select & run macros in Collabora Online 6.4.7
Anchors in Collabora Online 6.4.10
Anchors in Collabora Online 6.4.10

 

⚡️ Powerful new features arrive for Collabora Office on the desktop 🖥️

Collabora Office 21.06 brings enhanced productivity and smooth migration

June 2021 saw the major release of our desktop product Collabora Office. This release brought many UX improvements and smoother document interchange. Collabora Office 21.06 was focused on performance and making migration simpler for organizations. This release introduced a new numbering system, based on the year and month of its release, and many powerful features like a style inspector, better access for extensions and improved PPTX filters and many more.

Improved PPTX import in Collabora Office 21.06
Powerful new Style Inspector tool in the Sidebar of Collabora Office 21.06
Collabora Office 21.06 makes it easier and more convenient to find and install extensions

Collabora Office 6.4 saw many updates and improvements

  • April, version 6.4-33: Printed publications can now make use of Gutter Margins and PPTX import improvements for shaped bitmaps arrive
  • May, version 6.4-39: Improvements on XML import have been implemented
Add Gutter Margins to text documents in Collabora Office 6.4-33
True to the original PPTX import if shaped bitmaps in Collabora Office 6.4-33

🧰 CODE 21.11 provides insights into the upcoming enterprise version 📄

CODE 21.11 is the herald of our new enterprise version to be released next year. The current development edition introduces the full range of new features and performance enhancements for testing. Among other things, it contains the new native sidebar, improved interoperability and a number of new effects for objects such as glow, soft edges or blurry shadows. The numerous performance improvements include asynchronous save, JavaScipt acceleration, more efficient network traffic, and improved multi-user editing. Learn more details in our announcement.

New “native” Sidebar in CODE 21.11
CODE 21.11 includes a new “native” Sidebar
Apply glow and soft edge effects to objects in CODE 21.11
Improved PPTX import/export filters in CODE 21.11

🆕 Many new features for Collabora Office for Android, iOS & Chrome OS📱

Large, user-friendly UI on tablets
CSV Import in Collabora Office on Android
Moving Sheets in Collabora Office on Android
Smart connectors in presentation in Collabora Office on Android
VBA macros in Collabora Office for Android

 

🏠 Small scale work-from-home-solution and ARM64 support 👨‍💼

In March, together with our partners at Ubuntu and Nextcloud, we introduced a work-from-home solution for the Raspberry Pi including the easy-to-use Collabora Online built-in server. In April, we announced that CODE now also officially supports the ARM64 platform.

Canonical, Nextcloud and Collabora deliver work-from-home solution to Raspberry Pi

📰 Amazing news, interesting figures 📈

Over 250 partners worldwide

In 2021, our large network of amazing partners kept growing. We can now rely on over 200 partners from more than 50 countries. We help each other to promote open source, privacy & digital sovereign solutions and re-invest the proceeds into creating great new software. Find a Collabora partner in a special field or area! Or become a partner yourself!

 

CollaboraOffice.com available in four new languages

We continued dedicating a lot of effort to make our website and the information about our products easily available to a larger set of people. This year we implemented translations in Simplified Chinese , Japanese 🇯🇵, Russian 🇷🇺 and Czech 🇨🇿 to the available options on collaboraoffice.com. Thanks a lot to the translators. Also, the community translating Collabora Online kept growing. Would you like to help to translate our software to your language? Join our translation team on Weblate!

collaboraoffice.com is available in new languages, including japanese.

 

Collabora’s Contributions to LibreOffice 7.1 and 7.2

Collabora is part of the ecosystem developing and advancing LibreOffice Technology. Our developers responsible for many commits to the LibreOffice core. Many of the new features in LibreOffice 7.1 and LibreOffice 7.2 like Smart Art improvements, blurry shadows for objects, gutter margins or the possibility to add visible digital signatures to existing PDF files have been implemented by Collaborans. Find more details of our 7.1 contributions in our blog.

PDF signing improvements by Collabora in LibreOffice 7.1

 

Updated LibreOffice growth infographic 2021 📈

We updated the popular LibreOffice growth infographic. Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, the statistics around LibreOffice collaboration are impressive. Over 210M active LibreOffice users, over 70M pulls from the CODE Docker image, 500K installs of the Collabora Office mobile apps, and more than 12K code commits from the community and the ecosystem to the LibreOffice code. Have a look at the numbers!

 

🎙️ Together at a distance – a year of online conferences 👏

The major events – foremost the large international conferences – had to take place online due to the global pandemic. Nevertheless, also new events emerged. We were part of the Open Source Day for Enterprises in Russia. For the first time, Collabora hosted the COOL Days, a virtual conference completely focused on Collabora Online. While most conferences took place online, there have also been a few opportunities to meet in person. For instance, in France, at the Open Source Experience and on at the it-sa fair in Nuremberg and some smaller German events like digital + souverän.

A fresh breeze on the calendar – COOL Days 2021

This year we hosted the COOL Days for the first time. A two-day online event that focused exclusively on topics related to Collabora Online. The first day, the Developer Day, focused on technical topics. The second day, the Business Day, dealt with questions of marketing and digital sovereignty. The schedule is available on our website, the videos from the Developer Day can be found in our playlist on YouTube.

FOSDEM 2021 went online

Europe’s largest open-source event had to take place as an online this year. However, this did not stop our team and the open-source community from presenting themselves and their latest developments. Collabora was present with a whole series of talk covering Collabora Online and LibreOffice technology. Find the videos of our FOSDEM 2021 talks and more slides available for download in our blog.

 

“Collabora Online for your documents” by Michael Meeks. Download the presentation!
“How Collabora Online development improves LibreOffice” by Jan “Kendy” Holešovský. Download the presentation!
“Porting LibreOffice to macOS on Apple Silicon” by Tor Lillqvist. Download the presentation!

Collaborans contributing strongly to the LibreOffice conference

In contrast to last year’s joint conference, this year’s LibreOffice conference was hosted solely by The Document Foundation. The Collabora team presented 12 talks this year. All links to the videos and the slides for download can be found in our blog.

Download “Collabora Keynote” by Michael Meeks
Download “PDF and other graphic improvements” by Tomaž Vajngerl
Download “JSDialogs improvements over the past year” by Szymon Kłos

 

💪 A welcoming and vibrant COOL community 🤝

More than a year after moving the work on Collabora Online out of the TDF infrastructure and onto GitHub, we can say that it was a good decision. We have lowered the barriers to participation while increasing the transparency of the project. New, active members have been found, keeping in touch via the Telegram channel, and supporting the work on CODE and Collabora Online. Once a week, always on Thursdays, the community meets for a call.

Users can now easily file issues on GitHub, and the community answers questions from home users in the forum. The minutes of the community meetings can also be found there. Another great way to get involved is to help translate. At the same time, we are happy to be an important ecosystem partner of the LibreOffice community helping to advance LibreOffice Technology.

 

Showcasing our Consultancy work 💻

Our developers have a superb expertise in LibreOffice technology and implement new features and enhancements. This year, we did set up a page showcasing some of those implementations we realized on our client’s request – to the benefit of everyone. Find out more!

 

Presenting the benefits of Collabora Online for educational institutions 👩‍🎓

Scalable, reliable, privacy respecting and secure! Collabora Online is an ideal solution for modern learning environments. We have put together a web page with the many benefits of Collabora Online in educational institutions. Learn more!

 

The Collabora Online SDK ⚙️

Collabora Online SDK describes the main methods that allow you to interact with different Collabora Online components. Find installation guides, frequently asked questions, Post Message API and documentation on exiting integrations and on how to create new ones on our new SDK pages.

Google Summer of Code 2021 ☀️

This year, the Collabora team again provided mentors for LibreOffice projects within the Google Summer of Code. Among the topics mentored were interesting implementations such as the VCL graphics backend, the text style deck and revisions to the SVM format. Detailed information on these and other projects can be found in our GSoC 21 article.

News by Collabora directly into your inbox 📨

This year, we have updated our public newsletter. We made it visually more appealing and lowered the frequency of the mail outs. If you would like to receive regular updates like this one on the news on Collabora Online, Collabora Office and the COOL Days please sign up to our newsletter, that is mailed approximately 6 to 8 times per year.

Tip: keep an eye on our new releases for more new features.

 

Summary

It has been a very busy year here at Collabora Productivity. We enjoy seeing the Collabora Online Community grow and keep on advancing our mission to make open-source rock. We continued giving users privacy and businesses control over their data. We managed to achieve excellent results, and had a good time working on them – despite the challenging conditions that 2021 persisted. The first edition of the COOL Days was a real highlight for us. We have big plans for 2021, and hope there will be more possibilities to meet in person on conferences and on events. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, if you’d like to partner with us, or to buy from us. Thank you for the great support this year. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank You!

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CODE 21.11 delivers key features for secure, easier and faster online document collaboration

This new major release includes a brand new side bar, performance enhancements and interoperability improvements

Cambridge, November 25, 2021 – Collabora announces the availability of Collabora Online Developer Edition CODE 21.11. This major new release targets the three key areas: ease of use, performance and interoperability. The release demonstrates the company’s mission to the technology leader in collaborative editing. Collabora Online businesses the most effective and secure document creation environment with dedicated support and depth of development horsepower.

CODE 21.11 is the herald of the next major business supported Collabora Online release. This free developer version includes all features and enhancements that will be available in our enterprise version, expected early December. CODE releases allows everyone to learn about new features early.

As always, your feedback on possible issues is much appreciated! CODE is the collaboration suite offering home users and early adapters the best features, interoperability in open source, while respecting user privacy and data security.

Get CODE 21.11

Work easier and faster with the good looking and improved UI

CODE 21.11 comes with a significantly faster and better looking user interface..A major improvement for all users.

The new major CODE release is recognized immediately from the brand new Sidebar

Ease of use is enhanced with both a performance and usability improvements. Leveraging our expertise in the mobile space, the Sidebar is built locally by the browser which is fast. Thanks to snappy and responsive buttons and controls, the Sidebar is intuitive and easy to use. This approach reduces the data transfer from the server to the browser. In addition, the widgets can be styled using the same CSS as other UX components, enhancing the look and consistency of the Sidebar across multiple platforms.

The Sidebar is now drawn directly on the screen by the browser through JavaScript, and no longer constructed on the server and then send to your browser. Earlier versions rendered the Sidebar as images on an HTML canvas. CODE 21.11 uses JSON files with the information of the Sidebar, an approach that we had applied earlier for the mobile implementations.  This approach reduces the data transfer from the server to the browser, and also the widgets can now be styled using the same CSS as other UX components, enhancing the look and consistency of the sidebar.

CODE 21.11: Fast & responsive “native” Sidebar

New handsome view functions in the NotebookBar

New buttons in the NotebookBar improve viewing documents. Zooming, full-screen view or switching the sidebar on and off are now accessible via clear buttons in the layout tab, and no longer only via the status bars or the burger menu. The NotebookBar makes these frequently used functions even more easy to find.

A major release with many performance improvements

CODE 21.11 brings together many performance improvements that we have been working on through the 6.4.x lifecycle as well as some more advanced optimizations. These are rather hard to screenshot for your viewing pleasure for obvious reasons, but the next two images are a try at least.

There is a lot to tell on the subject:

  • Asynchronous save
  • accelerating of JavaScipt
  • saving network traffic
  • improved multi-user editing
  • specifically in spreadsheets, we speeded up auto spell checking and AutoFilter.

Improved multi-user editing

One of the test-cases we use, generates text at around ten times the speed of a normal typist. This is something we have been optimizing along with scalability to larger numbers of concurrent editors of the same document. Read more details here, or a deeply technical blog on optimizing for a larger number of users. Or simply watch this video of a torture test of an intense multi-user editing session showing old, 6.4.x, and 21.11 versions from top to bottom.

Optimizing pathological loads – old/6.4.x/21.11

Don’t miss all details in the special blog post!

We publish a specific blog post with more interesting details, ready this week. I can be found here. It is mostly technical but comes with some nice graphics too. Make sure you do not miss it. Follow our announcements on social media (see the footer of this website).

Improving performance is ongoing work! We continue to work to profile and optimize uses-cases that are important to our users, the upcoming 21.11 micro-releases will exhibit more continuous improvement in this area – as well as ongoing improvements to our document pixel compression to make things even faster and lighter. It is well worth staying up-to-date with the latest releases.

Spreadsheets benefit with Excel compatible formulae improvements and extensions

Relentless focus in Calc to extend interoperability with Excel, and to add new functionality do show. Support for sheet-local scoped names has been added to INDIRECT(), and both TEXT() and OFFSET() have been is adapted to various corner cases to behave identically to the competition. TEXTJOIN() and CONCAT() now handle array & matrix arguments row-wise for improved compatibility. In addition, functions that use powerful regular expressions now correctly honour case-insensitivity flags.

PowerPoint PPTX Interoperability boosted

PPTX import improvements include managing images within forms – even those converted to greyscale or mirrored – are displayed online true to the original. This had been implemented in Collabora Office before.

More attractive and realistic shadow effects also enhance interoperability

A new Blur option does now allow for a more realistic rendering of shadows. The options of the feature can be accessed via the Shadows tab in the Area dialog or directly through updated “native” Sidebar.  This feature was initially developed during a GSoC20 for the LibreOffice project mentored by Collaborans and then implemented with further refinements in Collabora Office 21.06 and is now also available online.

Glow and Soft Edge effects for shapes – more than just interoperable

New features manipulate shapes in a more granular way. Once a shape is selected, you can choose the radius of the Glow effect and its Soft Edges within the sidebar using the Effects parameter. You can select the colour and the degree of transparency of the effect.
Not that these interoperability features apply to all shapes across Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw.

Version 21.11 – The new CODE release of the year

Starting with CODE 21.11, we are adopting the numbering of our online office suite to the scheme of our desktop product. The version number indicates the year and month of the first release of the current major version. CODE releases a major version annually and updates with fixes and improvements at approximately monthly intervals. As before, the updates are marked with a third consecutive number. We think that this kind of numbering makes it easier for CODE users to keep track of the versions.

Improved language handling in Writer

The basic model of language annotation that CODE had inherited from the LibreOffice core is that languages are explicitly assigned to regions of text. This can easily lead to unexpected results when documents that have been created in one local language (without specifying it further) are opened by another user with a different local language setting. Instead of a powerful but potentially confusing “multi languages” result, Writer now resets the language to the user’s UI locale if no document language had been defined. This more consistent behaviour was previously implemented in Collabora Office on the desktop, and is now also available online in Writer.

Shadowed tables for use in ODS and PPTX presentations

Shadows are now available for tables within presentations through the Table Properties dialog. The newly added shadow option includes different parameters such as blur and transparency.

Thanks to the Community!

Before we conclude with some final improvements and news, we really want to let you know about all the people that did the hard work, luckily often with joy and fun too, the community that made this release possible!
Shortly  before this release, we celebrated the wonderful work of these people in this blog  post. Do read it and join us in saying thanks!

Read the blog “our next major release was made more fun and beautiful by the community”

Miscellaneous changes

In addition to the larger features, there are of course a large number of smaller changes:

  • Internet Explorer 11 dropped. This saves some rather significant code complexity in some areas eg. copy-paste, simplifies testing, and removes legacy JavaScript polyfills.
  • Auto-cleanup on by default. We now by default are more aggressive towards processes that are idle and are consuming a large amount of CPU, after around five minutes of this behavior they are killed, to disable that checkout the cleanup section in coolwsd.xml.
  • cool conversion. We have migrated our legacy loleaflet and lool paths to browser and cool – which impacts a number of configuration files and binaries. Integrators should continue to use the URLs they receive from the hosting/discovery end-point. Those with HA setups may need to update their proxy configuration with a simple search & replace as/when we do our enterprise COOL release. Generally we have back-compatibility symlinks to make this migration process smoother and simpler.
  • Quarantine. We now have an experimental way (disabled by default) to slowly accumulate files which caused a problem with Collabora Online in a quarantine directory. This can help report issues see thequarantine_files section in coolwsd.xml.
  • Notebookbar by default. Integrations can now change the look and feel of Collabora Online easily, so we have added a new state default state to our user_interface setting to go with the classic vs. notebookbar options to allow using the integration’s default.
  • Dropped deprecated reuse_cookies. This setting was originally a workaround to aid with authentication, prior to having access_token. However, it proved much less useful than originally anticipated, primarily because cookies nowadays have security restrictions in browsers.
  • Initial simple OT undo/redo. In place of falling back to our ‘repair’ mode, we can now undo and redo simple edits in writer to different paragraphs which were made out-of order.
    Surprisingly this  has never been requested as a feature, but we made a start here.

LibreOffice Technology

CODE and Collabora Online are built with LibreOffice Technology by the LibreOffice community in which we love to participate. We cannot thank everyone involved enough for their passionate work.

Built with LibreOffice Technology

About CODE

CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and to host them themselves in a secure and private environment. For tech-enthusiasts, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE will be improved continuously and our next supported and maintained Collabora Online product will be built from it. The code is available on GitHub.

Get CODE 21.11

Open source – so feel welcome to join

Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release, and accounts for the overwhelming volume of contributions. However, we want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice technology. All of our code is open source, and available to the public on GitHub. Would you like to be part of the Collabora Online success story? Check the new website for Online with information, easy hacks and a forum for Online, report issues, and participate today!

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